The painting shows the market place in the city of Halle an der Saale as a deserted scene illuminated by pale blue light. Kirchner, who had been doing his military service since the spring of 1915, was stationed here with this training regiment. In the center of the square – it's height exaggerated in Kirchner's depiction – stands a 15th century bell tower with its Neo-Gothic brick enclosure. To the left you can see the massive Marienkirche with its four towers, which would inspire Kirchner's fellow painter Lyonel Feininger to a number of paintings 15 years later. The many sources of light bound into a red, luminous stream evokes the heavy car traffic that had flowed through the centrally located square. But only a tram traverses the city, which seems as deserted as just before a huge storm. Clouds of smoke visible in the background indicate approaching military action. Already during his training for active service, Kirchner was appalled at the barbarism of the military structure. After a few months at the front he suffered a severe mental crisis, broke down and was released from duty. In 1917 he left Germany and moved to Davos in Switzerland.


  • Title: The Red Tower in Halle
  • Creator: Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
  • Creator Lifespan: 1880/1938
  • Date: 1915
  • Provenance: Acquired in 1953 with support of the City of Essen
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: © Museum Folkwang
  • Medium: Oil on canvas
  • Höhe: 120 cm
  • Collection: Painting, Sculpture, Media Art
  • Breite: 90.5 cm

Get the app

Explore museums and play with Art Transfer, Pocket Galleries, Art Selfie, and more

Flash this QR Code to get the app
Google apps